A star on the karting scene, this young German quickly made a name for himself when he collected the FIA GT3 European Championship in 2012, just two years after stepping up to car racing. One year later, he was crowned champion in the Blancpain Endurance Series having already won the Spa 24 Hours for the first time, and only a technical failure in the final round stopped Maximilian from securing that year’s ADAC GT Masters title as well. An official ‘Bentley Boy’ for two seasons thereafter, he won the Drivers’ championship in the Blancpain Sprint Series in 2015 before clinching the Blancpain GT Series upon his jump to Mercedes-AMG in 2016. It’s a stacked CV. Just don’t try and start a conversation with him too early in the morning…
“My name is Maximilian Buhk.”
Age? You can lie about that if you want…
“I am 26 years old.”
Where and when was your first ever car race, and how old were you?
“I went from karting into single seaters, and I was 16 years old. But my first ever GT race was at the [Hankook] 24H DUBAI, when I was 18, and we finished 2nd overall.”*
*Max competed alongside Christiaan Frankenhout, Max Nilsson, Andreas Zuber and endurance legend Bernd Schneider to collect the runners-up spot in 2012 with the Heico 1 Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3.
What is the best moment of your racing career so far?
“There have been quite a few so far. It’s always nice to think about the championships we’ve won. Nice memories of my first ever GT race in Dubai too. But I think the best memory was winning the Spa 24 Hours [in 2013, in the HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 and alongside Bernd Schneider and Maximilian Götz].”
Which is your favourite circuit and why?
“Personally, it’s Spa. It’s connected to the biggest success I ever had. I like other tracks as well like Bathurst, which is like a mini version of the Nordschleife. Oh yeah, and the Nordschleife, for sure! But Spa would still be my favourite.”
Describe the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you at a motor race …
“Nothing strange so far. Or nothing I can think of anyway.”
Describe your helmet design to us, and what it signifies…
“When I was young and in karting, I always had either a white helmet or a black helmet. No paint at all. And then I got my first helmet sponsored by my manager, and he was the one who decided what the design would be! But I actually really like it. I think it’s a pretty classic look. Nowadays people have 600 colours, circles, chrome, etc, and I don’t really understand why. I much prefer the simplicity of my design. The only thing I’ve changed since 2012 are the colours to blue and white, because blue is my favourite colour.”
What is your greatest strength?
“I think, in life, I don’t take things too seriously. And in racing, I can handle pressure quite well.”
If Hollywood made a movie about you, who would play you and why?
“Well, if Hollywood made a movie about me, I’d want to play the main role! If I can’t, I mean, I’ve been told I look like Brad Pitt, but he might be a bit expensive!”
What would you like to achieve before retiring?
“I don’t want to achieve one thing in particular. I want to look back and be able to say I had a successful and fun career, and know that I wasn’t wasting my time. I think the biggest achievement [I could have] is to leave a mark on the time and in the period I was driving.”
Tell us a random fact about yourself that your fans might not know…
“I’m a bad morning person! I’m tough to handle very early in the day.”
Finally, what do you enjoy most about competing in the 24H SERIES?
“The atmosphere in the paddock is more familiar. I mean, everybody is so friendly, not like in other championships where people can be super stressed and impolite if you have a question they might think is stupid. The atmosphere here is just so chilled, and I’m really enjoying that.”